Index of tables
M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m
- Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP
- Bircham Dyson Bell LLP
- Collyer Bristow LLP
- Davenport Lyons
- Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
- Faegre Baker Daniels
- Fasken Martineau LLP
- Finers Stephens Innocent LLP
- Forsters LLP
- Fox Williams LLP
- Howard Kennedy
- Ince & Co
- Irwin Mitchell
- Kemp Little LLP
- Maclay Murray & Spens LLP
- McGuireWoods London LLP
- Memery Crystal LLP
- PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP
- Pritchard Englefield
- Wallace LLP
- Withers LLP
Leading individuals: M&A
- Nigel Boardman - Slaughter and May
- Nilufer von Bismarck - Slaughter and May
- Edward Braham - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- Adrian Clark - Ashurst
- Creighton Condon - Shearman & Sterling LLP
- Stephen Cooke - Slaughter and May
- Richard Cranfield - Allen & Overy LLP
- Richard Godden - Linklaters LLP
Michael Hatchard -
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
- Charles Jacobs - Linklaters LLP
- William Lawes - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- Tim Lewis - Clifford Chance
- Michael McDonald - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Frances Murphy - Slaughter and May
- Barry O’Brien - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
- James Palmer - Herbert Smith LLP
- Chris Pearson - Norton Rose LLP
- David Pearson - Clifford Chance
- Mark Rawlinson - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Adam Signy -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Scott Simpson -
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP
- Spencer Summerfield - Travers Smith LLP
- William Underhill - Slaughter and May
- Sean Watson - CMS Cameron McKenna LLP
- Stephen Wilkinson - Herbert Smith LLP
Boodle Hatfield LLP has a ‘smooth, partner-driven approach’, with new recruit Ute Mueller singled out for particular praise; she joined in 2011 alongside Bernd Ratzke from Dawsons LLP. Highlights included advising the directors of Group NBT plc on HgCapital’s £153m recommended cash offer for the company.
Bristows’ ‘excellent’ corporate team continued to capitalise on the firm’s dominance in the technology and brands-based industries, acting for new clients Cork Gully and the Hearst Corporation. In 2011 it also advised Smith & Nephew plc’s UK subsidiary on its acquisition of Aderma Dermal Pads from Focus Product Development Limited. Mark Hawes leads the five-partner team, which includes the ‘experienced’ Ken Boehner.
Burges Salmon LLP has a roster of blue-chip clients that includes FirstGroup and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company. 2011 highlights included advising Cobham plc on its disposal of Cobham’s ERA technology business to a private equity backed management team. Camilla Usher-Clark, Richard Spink and Alan Barr are recommended.
DAC Beachcroft LLP has a strong post-merger offering, particularly in the recruitment industry, where both legacy firms shared ‘deep knowledge of the sector and the issues pertinent to these businesses’. The insurance sector is another key area of focus for the team, which in 2011 advised Groupama on the sale of its health insurance business. Steven Raize is ‘commercially minded’, and Matthew Darling is praised for his ‘ability to cut to the nub of the issue’.
Farrer & Co has ‘significant depth and breadth of expertise in the M&A arena’, and consistently advises on a high volume of deals. While the majority of the 109 transactions it advised on in 2011 were in the £5m-£50m deal bracket, its advice to the partners of King Sturge LLP on its £197m merger with Jones Lang LaSalle is indicative of its ability to ‘punch into the next level of deals’. Jeremy Tizzard is ‘a grafter who works hard on every point’; Jai Bal ‘chips away at opponents with well-thought-through arguments and a sharp intellect’; and Richard Lane is ‘always positive and helpful’.
Fladgate LLP ‘consistently outperforms the competition’ on deals, for a largely entrepreneurial client base. In 2011 it advised Abriand Limited on its £20m takeover of Blanc Brasserie. David Robinson is ‘extremely intelligent, has huge knowledge and experience, and doesn ’t seem to ever make a mistake’.
Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s corporate team draws on the firm’s historic strength in the media, telecoms and entertainment sectors to tap into a client base that includes Channel Four and HMV/MAMA Group plc. Highlights included advising on the sale of a 51% interest in Endor Productions to Red Arrow Entertainment. Tim Parker heads the practice.
Manches LLP’s practice head Matthew Martin stands out for his ‘invaluable input and advice’. 2011 saw the team advise All Saints Retail Limited on its £107m restructuring and refinancing, while other clients include Brightside Group and Moss Bros.
Marriott Harrison LLP’s ‘well-rounded’ ten-partner team advised North Promotions plc on its £5m public takeover of AIM-listed Coolabi plc. The ‘very client-focused and supportive’ Hugh Gardner is recommended, as are Jon Sweet, Duncan Innes, Jonathan Pearce and David Bennett, for their ‘clear knowledge and ability to hand over from partner to partner without loss of continuity’.
The team at Shepherd and Wedderburn leverages the firm’s strength in energy and financial services to advise on a consistent level of high-value transactions above and beyond its typical sub-£50m deal output. 2011 highlights included advising Biocompatibles International plc on its £177m recommended takeover by BTG plc. Angus Rollo heads the London corporate team.
Speechly Bircham LLP continued to increase its share of £50m-plus deals, with 2011 seeing it advise on several deals above the £100m mark. Highlights included advising Ecclesiastical Life Limited on the £180m disposal of its life assurance business to Engage Mutual Assurance. David Hicks draws praise for his ‘sharp intellect, excellent attention to detail, and extremely professional attitude’.
Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP strengthened its corporate offering with the hire of Richard Marke from Lawrence Graham LLP, adding to its already significant technology sector expertise. In 2011, the firm advised the shareholders of Finalta Enterprises Limited on its sale to a global management consultancy. Practice head Mark Tasker comes highly recommended.
Bircham Dyson Bell LLP’s ‘professional and well-regarded’ team advised on deals worth a combined £210m in 2011, including advising Sinav Limited on its £32m takeover of GTL Resources through a scheme of arrangement. Practice head John Turnbull is recommended.
Highlights for Paul Sillis’ team at Collyer Bristow LLP included acting for Clode Group in its acquisitions of Clode Funding Limited and V-12 Holdings Limited. Oliver Drennan left the firm in 2011 to take up an in-house position, and Gary Withey has also left the firm.
Davenport Lyons continued to strengthen its financial services capability with the hire of Abesh Choudhury, who joined from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP. He joins a team with historic strength in the media sector, with recent work including advising Yattendon on the sale of Channel Islands commercial television broadcaster Channel Television to ITV.
The newly merged Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP continued to invest in its London-based corporate offering, adding Damian Connolly from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Stuart Blythe from Bird & Bird and Eero Rautalahti from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP. In 2011 the team advised on 100 deals with an average value of £30m, including Allied Healthcare International Inc’s $175m sale to Saga Group Limited.
Highlights for Paul Finlan’s team at Faegre Baker Daniels included advising Elta Group Limited on its acquisition of Airepure Australia Pty Limited; and new client Area Clearance Services Group GmbH on its acquisition of BACTEC International Limited.
Fasken Martineau LLP advised on 12 deals with a combined value of £575m in 2011, a number of them falling into the corporate team’s traditional focal areas of energy, infrastructure, natural resources and life sciences. Highlights included advising Sinclair IS Pharma plc on its £21m acquisition of Advance Bio Technologies Inc. The team was joined in 2011 by Jonathan Martin from King & Spalding International LLP, Stuart Hills from DMH Stallard LLP, and Andrew Thomas from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Finers Stephens Innocent LLP has well-established small-cap M&A capability and particular strength in the retail, leisure and restaurant sectors, recently advising London Doors Restaurant Group Limited on its acquisition of the Tom Aiken Group. Ashley Reeback heads the corporate team, which advised on approximately 30 deals with an aggregate value of £100m in 2011.
In an illustration of Forsters LLP’s strength in real estate, Craigie Pearson advised a Hong Kong investment consortium on its £30m investment in a holding company engaged in urban regeneration in the UK housing market. The hire of Craig Thompson from Howard Kennedy adds strength on the media side. Clients including British Airways Pension Fund and Soho House.
Fox Williams LLP’s ‘professional, prompt and commercial’ team acts for a number of AIM and main market clients, including SuperGroup and Plexus Holdings. In 2011 it advised the former on its €40m acquisition of CNC Collections BVBA, its France and Benelux franchisee and distributor. Practice head Paul Osborne is a ‘skilful negotiator and draftsman’, and Nick Sayers ‘grasps issues quickly and provides considered, practical advice’.
Howard Kennedy leveraged its commercial property strength to handle a number of sales and purchases of property-holding SPVs in 2011, and continued to develop its niche in sports M&A. It advised Watford FC Limited on its £14m takeover offer for the entire issued share capital of Watford Leisure plc. Practice head Michael Harris is recommended.
The team at Ince & Co benefits from firm’s core strength in energy and maritime, areas that have shown robust signs of growth in a challenging marketplace. Stephen Jarvis leads the team, which was joined in 2011 by oil and gas specialist Tanya Nash from SNR Denton. Clients include PVM Oil Associates Limited and Subsea 7.
Irwin Mitchell’s ‘small but skilled’ corporate team is ‘evolving nicely’, with Jayne Schnider recently joining from Taylor Wessing LLP in a boost to its private equity and corporate real estate capability. 2011 highlights included advising OCS Group UK Limited on its £8m disposal of a product distribution business to Bunzl plc. Practice head Andrew Woolf is a ‘supportive adviser’, and Edward Persse has ‘strong legal knowledge backed up by a level of pragmatic advice and commercial insight not found in many of his peers’.
Kemp Little LLP’s ‘responsive and pragmatic’ corporate team ‘always brings the right level of expertise and resources to bear’, with a focus on technology and media businesses. In 2011 it acted for Thomson Reuters (Markets) on its acquisition of GFMS, a gold and precious metals pricing data business. Andy Moseby is ‘a pleasure to work with’.
McGuireWoods London LLP’s ‘professional, efficient and pragmatic’ corporate team has an intensive focus on international deals, meaning its deal values frequently exceed the £100m mark; recent examples include EO Group’s $305m sale to Tullow Oil plc. ‘Very experienced’ practice head Robert Rakison and the ‘very efficient and knowledgeable’ Mark Langford are recommended.
Memery Crystal LLP’s ‘thorough and attentive’ team advised Wyndeham Press Group Limited on its £20m acquisition of St Ives plc’s web offset printing group. Greg Scott leads an eight-partner team particularly noted for its AIM expertise.
Alistair Hogarth’s team at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP is one of the leading advisers to management companies, and a regular fixture on management buy-ins and buyouts. 2011 highlights included advising IG Group Holdings on the proposed sale of its sports spread-betting business.
Pritchard Englefield’s corporate finance practice is notable for its cross-border strength, and in 2011 advised AIM-listed Active Energy plc on its majority investment in a company which manufactures, markets, distributes and installs voltage optimising products. Bryan Bletso and Mark Harden are recommended.
Wallace LLP advised Capital Valves on its sale to National Oilwell Varco, and also saw a growth in AIM-related transactions. Rex Newman and David Judah are recommended. Sam Martin joined from Sidley Austin LLP.
Withers LLP has a particular focus on the luxury brands and sports sectors, with 2011 seeing it advise Sarita Capital Investment on the sale of QPR FC. Global corporate head Anthony Indaimo continues to develop the practice’s CIS focus.
Adams & Remers’ newly opened London office has been quick to gain traction, attracting a growing number of AIM-listed clients. The recruitment sector is a core focus, with 2011 seeing it advise Berkley Recruitment Group Limited on its sale to ReThink Group plc. Practice head Matthew Searle was joined in 2011 by Simon Jones and Stuart Robertson from Cobbetts LLP.
Led by Martin Kay, Blake Lapthorn’s eight-partner team has expertise in the IP, food supply, recruitment and education sectors. 2011 highlights included advising AIM-listed company Quindell Portfolio plc on its reverse takeover of Mission Capital.
The team at Bryan Cave benefits from the firm’s strong US platform and entrenched relationships with clients in the mining, natural resources and energy sectors.
Cobbetts LLP’s ‘highly professional’ corporate team has a particular focus on the mining and natural resources sectors, with 2011 seeing it advise the shareholders of Ebony Iron (Pty) Limited on their share disposals. The ‘professional and experienced’ Harender Branch joined from Dawsons LLP.
Druces LLP advised on 31 deals in 2011 with an average value of £11m, acting for a growing number of AIM-listed clients. Highlights included advising Hugo Boss on its £16.5m acquisition of 15 franchised stores from Moss Bros plc. Christopher Axford attracts praise.
At Edwin Coe LLP, practice head Russel Shear is highlighted for his ‘exceptional intellect and good appreciation of the practical realities of commerce and industry’. In 2011, the firm acted alongside New York based firm Torys on TMX Group Inc’s acquisition of Finexeo SA. Andrew Bretherton left to join CANDEY LLP.
Hamlins LLP’s sector strengths include media, real estate and hotel and leisure; it has a broad client base that includes One Media Publishing plc and Park Plaza Hotels Europe. In 2011 it acted for CMS Holdings Limited on its acquisition of two travel agency businesses. Practice head Daniel Bellau is recommended.
Keystone Law stands out for its all-partner approach; ‘one always has partner contact, at a sensible fee level’. The retail, TMT and healthcare sectors account for the bulk of the firm’s transactional workload, with 2011 seeing it advise the shareholders of Interactive Dialogues Limited on its sale to IDOX plc. Geoffrey Pickerill is ‘outstandingly good’.
Penningtons Solicitors LLP is ‘particularly well equipped to deal with any kind of transaction in the VC arena’, and is highlighted for the ‘degree of partner exposure’ it affords. James Klein was appointed to lead the London corporate team following his arrival in 2011 from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP. Indian investment deals remain a strong focus.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s ‘very capable and responsive’ corporate team benefits from the firm’s strong US footprint, with 2011 seeing it advise Atlas Holdings on the UK aspects of its merger with Shorewood Packaging. Practice head James Campbell is recommended.
Wedlake Bell LLP provides ‘attentive, user-friendly and good-value’ service, with practice head Janice Wall singled out for her ‘excellent understanding of what makes small-cap businesses tick’. 2011 highlights included assisting Reed Exhibitions Limited in acquiring three other event companies.
Wiggin LLP’s media capability sees it act on a good share of deals arising from that sector. In 2011 it advised on Virgin Media’s sale of Virgin TV to Sky. Michael Brader provides ‘creative solutions to difficult issues’.